Today, Saturday June 8, the UFC is live in Brazil for UFC on FUEL TV 10: Nogueira vs. Werdum. This show is the unofficial finale for the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, and so will be headlined by the coaches' battle as Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira takes on Fabricio Werdum. UFC on Fuel TV 10 is live on Fuel this Saturday June 8, with the main card beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET / 5:00 p.m. PT.
Before the big Heavyweight contender main event, the UFC presents a full night of action. With seven Facebook prelim fights and a six-fight main card on Fuel, this is a packed event. Join Bloody Elbow as we break down the fights in our fight card primer series. Here, we take a look at the main card. Check out our Facebook prelim card primer from earlier, and stop back later for Werdum vs. Big Nog. And of course, be sure to join us tonight for live fight night coverage of UFC on Fuel TV 10.
William Macario (6-0 MMA; UFC Debut) vs. Leonardo Santos (11-3 MMA; UFC Debut) - Welterweight
This is the finals of the latest season of TUF: Brazil. Macario is an undefeated stand-up fighter with three years of pro experience. He has stopped all of his opponents, almost all of them in the first round. He represented Team Nogueira during the show where he had an impressive run through the house. Another Team Nogueira member, Leonardo Santos actually lost in the semifinals to Santiago Ponzinibbio, but a broken hand suffered in that fight caused Santiago to pull out of the finals and Santos to get a second shot. Santos is considerably more experienced - he's an 11-year pro who has fought in Sengoku and Shooto against fighters like Takanori Gomi. Santos is a Nova Uniao trainee with a strong jiu jitsu game, making this something of a striker vs. grappler battle.
Thiago Silva (14-3(2) MMA; 5-3(2) UFC) vs. Rafael Cavalcante (11-3(1) MMA; UFC Debut) - Light Heavyweight
This Light Heavyweight battle may feature the most recent No Contests of any fight I have seen in the UFC as both men are coming off NC fights. Silva was once considered a true killer in the making. An undefeated, vicious fighter, he was a potential Wanderlei Silva II. But his last years have been rough. In two of his last three fights, he's had wins turned into No Contests after failing drug tests. He's also had some tough losses along the way. In fact, since Lyoto Machida ended Silva's undefeated streak way back in 2009, he has only had one win, a 2009 victory over Keith Jardine. It seems clear that time has passed Silva by at this point. Rafael Feijao is a former Strikeforce champion, having won that belt from King Mo before losing it to Dan Henderson. He last fought a year ago, and like Silva, had a win overturned to a No Contest when he failed a drug test making this a battle between two men coming off drug test suspensions. Weird.
Daniel Sarafian (7-3 MMA; 0-1 UFC) vs. Eddie Mendez (7-1-1(1) MMA; UFC Debut) - Middleweight
Sarafian was scheduled to be a finalist on the first season of TUF Brazil, but injury forced him out of the finals. He made his UFC debut shortly thereafter against C.B. Dollaway. Dollaway took a very close and somewhat contentious decision win in that fight. Mendez is a five-year veteran with only one blemish in his pro career. He holds a 2011 win in Strikeforce. Originally, Mendez was set to debut in the UFC last December, but an injury forced him out of a fight with Nick Penner. He makes his comeback here after being out of action for the past year.
Erick Silva (14-3(1) MMA; 2-2 UFC) vs. Jason High (16-3 MMA; 0-1 UFC) - Welterweight
Silva is, in my eyes, the most exciting fighter on this card not in the main event. The former Jungle Fight champion made a huge UFC debut in 2011 and looked like he was ready to fly up the rankings when he ran into Jon Fitch last October and was promptly Fitched to a decision loss. Still, Silva remains a potential star in the making with great striking and a solid all-around game. Jason High is a Strikeforce and Dream veteran who had a UFC loss to Charlie Brenneman back in 2010. He's 7-0 since. High is a good wrestler with nice submission skills. This is a tough return fight for him, but he should not be looked at as totally outmatched here.
Rony Jason (12-3 MMA; 2-0 UFC) vs. Mike Wilkinson (8-0 MMA; 1-0 UFC) - Featherweight
Rony Jason won the inaugural season of TUF Brazil. He followed that win up with a big KO victory over Sam Sicilia in October. Rony is a highly touted prospect who the UFC clearly has high hopes for. The Sicilia fight showed that he is an exciting fighter, though still one working to tighten up his game, particularly in his striking defense. The undefeated Mike Wilkinson made a successful UFC debut last year after competing on TUF Smashes for Team UK. There, he was forced out of the competition with an injury, though was never defeated. Wilkinson is a submission specialist who will likely look to take this to the ground.